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Old 12-21-2010, 11:26 AM   #1
Cybershadow
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Default GFCI keeps blowing

I built a heatstick and i have it running on a 20 amp circuit all by itself and it keeps blowing. It doesn't blow right away. It blows after about 5 minutes or so. Then I unplug and let it sit for a minute then I plug it back in and it forks for another minute and blows again.

I used the instructions here.
http://www.3d0g.net/brewing/heatstick

I built it using a 1500 watt element and 14/3 wire which was rated up to 1850 watts.

Any ideas?

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Old 12-21-2010, 12:33 PM   #2
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Is it a new circuit breaker or has it been in the panel for a long time? Are there any other devices running on that circuit when you are running the heatstick? Are you sure it's a 20 amp breaker and not a 15 amp breaker? Is the wire from the box to the outlet you are using the correct size for that draw? What you're describing sounds like the circuit breaker is being overloaded.

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Old 12-21-2010, 12:35 PM   #3
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you're exceeding the 80% rule using 14awg wire. 14 gauge wire is suited for a 15A breaker maximum and 12A at 80%. Using 12 gauge wire would put you where you need to be and would most likely solve your problem.

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Old 12-21-2010, 12:44 PM   #4
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The first thing to determine is if the GFCI is tripping or if the circuit breaker is tripping. You didn't say whether you use a GFCI circuit breaker or a separate GFCI outlet. I assume that they are separate only because most 15 to 20 amp ones are.

If it is the circuit breaker then I would suspect that the breaker has aged and might need to be replaced. Fifteen hundred watts draws only 12.5 amps so a 20 amp breaker is quite sufficient.

If it is the GFCI that is tripping then you have a leak to the ground wire somewhere. It could be in your wiring of the heatstick or in the element itself. Moisture might be getting into your wiring to cause the tripping, but I have no idea why it wouldn't trip again immediately after resetting. Immediately after it trips, try unplugging it and using an ohmmeter to check both the hot lead and neutral lead to to the ground lead. There should be infinite resistance. The small current required to trip a GFCI can happen with any resistance less than about 30,000 ohms.

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Old 12-21-2010, 01:25 PM   #5
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I've actually tried two different 20 amp circuits on my house and the same thing happens on both. It just trips the GFCI and not the breaker box circuit. The second one i tried was just a recepticle ran directly to the breaker box and a 20 amp circuit and that was the only thing on the circuit. I would think if it was leaking it would trip right away everytime i plug it in. It takes a few minutes to trip the GFCI.

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Old 12-21-2010, 01:27 PM   #6
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Also the wiring is all new and when I say new I mean within the last 4 years.

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Old 12-21-2010, 02:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger9913 View Post
Using 12 gauge wire would put you where you need to be and would most likely solve your problem.
I doubt it. If the wire was being pushed, it would be the wire failing, not the GFCI. He'd be smelling insulation burning and seeing smoke.
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:31 PM   #8
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You've got a short to ground somewhere if it's blowing 2 separate GFCI's. Does the heatstick shock you when you touch the water?

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Old 12-21-2010, 02:36 PM   #9
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Let the heatstick sit in water without plugging it in and then check for leaks.

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Old 12-21-2010, 02:38 PM   #10
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Let the heatstick sit in water without plugging it in and then check for leaks.
Yep, let it sit in the water for an hour or so then give it a good shake. If there is water in there you should hear it.
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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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